Car Usage, City vs. Suburb

My December 2010 car usage splits were 5/12/1 (5 unique trips, 12 legs, 1 time driven). That was for the first 29 days of the month, and includes the ride we got to the airport by Amy's dad on our way to San Jose.

While in San Jose for one week (Wednesday to Wednesday), my car usage splits were 9/18/4. And this was with very mindful avoidance of the car: we walked to my cousin's house twice instead of taking the car (once under an increasing rain), walked to two separate playgrounds instead of driving to them, and parked the car in between two downtown sights and walked in between them instead of parking at one place and then driving to the second place.

The point is that lower car usage is only partly a matter of personal choice. It is also (you might argue more so) a matter of land use patterns. In inner city West Philadelphia, it is not much of a hardship to walk to work, school, and church: there have been numerous times that I've gone weeks without stepping foot in a car. In suburban West San Jose, it is almost impossible to go even a day without using the car once or twice.

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